I have found myself of late within a series of difficult events, fighting new battles within my mind. Throughout, I have navigated the rockiest of shores with a wide range of careful triumphant precision and something akin to trying to wrestle a live goose into a large pot of broth while blindfolded while crying like a chef who has just chopped no less than 100 raw onions. So, somewhere in the top!er coaster that has been me, I blew by my giftedness and focussed on, well, me. Disturbed by narcissists worldwide, I realized I was in very real danger of becoming one. So, what I can only call a revelation from God, just entered my mind. I have two things to use as tools in not becoming someone I hate or worse God cannot use. One is the biggest most powerful tool in the universe… the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit, God Himself. Amazing! Grasping my problem with a firm grip and shaking it loose from me with a ferocity that rivals a lioness protecting her cubs is God protecting me when I ask. He is my powerful Heavenly Father after all. I am His and He is mine. Second tool is the gift of perspective of a sound mind naturally seeing the big picture. My innate zoom out camera in my mind. I had borrowed a friend’s attention to detail and fixated on the little nuggets that I generally, when true to self, would never have given the time of day. I had let go of who I was, the crazy, zany, wise one I was cut out to be who rises above the now and easily breathes in the big picture. I saw how tiny my own problems were compared to thousands being martyred and worse now, politicians as corrupt mob bosses of old, morality being plunged to negligible levels in the country I love the most, and so many other problems worldwide. My little issues are tiny specks compared to these things. Yes, they still matter to me. Of course, I love very very big and am passionately tender hearted so feel the recent losses in my life vehemently, but I cannot live there for there is much to be done. There are many hurting. If I live in my own hurt and get stuck there, who will be there to help others who are hurting? And who can help them best than someone who intimately understands and can empathize with their experiences? Oh how I would tie my own hands and God’s work through them if I gave in to sorrow and depression? What good would I be? Who would love these other hurting people? Whose hands would God use to heal them if not mine? And it hit me, I had given in to the temptation of selfishness and distraction and I refuse to give up my freedom to such petty things. So, here we are, arriving together at this momentous crossroad in my life. No doubt prayers uttered on my behalf brought it to fruition so I thank you dearly for them. And off we go, me with jobs to do, taking care of my family and home, serving others with my kids, visiting shutins and bringing them joy, being a part of the world again. No more protect and preserve mode. I have better things to do. I will save my tears for the onions.
What truly makes a decision difficult is most often us. Our uncertainty, lack of faith/trust, distractions, input from others, masks or just plain pride are the accomplices to the crime of difficulty but the gunman is generally just a focus on the details so much that God’s big picture and will are shadowed. Often it is really an easy decision shrouded in emotional or spiritual baggage. What really makes us have difficulty with a decision is the enemy. He works overtime on causing distraction and loss of focus and even procrastination and evil influences of others. He takes pride in steering us the wrong direction and loves to see us sweat it out while his plan is going strong. The decision whether to do right or wrong is never a gray decision, never difficult. However, if the enemy has his way, he tempts us to a myriad of shades of gray until little compromises are made. Usually, big decisions are difficult when they involve the future of other people. In that case, the big picture thinking comes in handy. If you are not cut to see the big picture, maybe you know a fellow Christ follower who is and can help see that big picture you need to make the decision. And if you don’t have such a person in your circle, or even if you do, here is a revolutionary practice… Pray about it and read your Bible and then have ask some questions in your head and you will be surprised how many times God’s Holy Spirit answers your question in your head or heart OR the opportunity that shows up soon after. God is not dead. He is absolutely alive and active and His Holy Spirit dwells/lives in every person who is saved. So, with His help decisions cease to be difficult or ugly. They clear up when you ask the Lord for help and are open for His answer.
I usually only write once daily but I am making an exception for a very important topic. In my devotions, I just read an excerpt by Anna J. Lindgren. She wrote, “Is there a Christian of maturer years who does not carry about in his heart sensitive scars that keep breaking open, because a fellow Christian inflicted the wound? And forgiveness asked and granted never went deep enough to pour in the oil that heals and erases the memory of the hurt. And here we go, supersensitive to the slightest touch of real or fancied hurt, wrapped about with our dignified rights and our ” righteous indignation” and our wounded pride. And the wound never heals, and the work of God is arrested, because no one is great enough to be small enough to get down on his bare knees on the floor and with the towel of humility wipe the feet and heart of the offender. The pride of flesh cries out, ‘Not I! What would people think? I am the one sinned against! I must uphold my position!’ Who is the one sinned against? The One who rose from throne, laid aside the garment of light, took up the poor towel of humanity and wrapped it about His glorious Person, poured His own blood into the basin of the cross, and set Himself to wash away the foul stains of human depravity and guilt. ‘He…took a towel.'(John 13:4). I think this is beautiful and true. Often we forget God’s generous forgiveness for our wrongs and we hold on to the wrongs of others as if we were ungrateful for God’s gifts to us. We think being right is more important than being at peace. And a kind, gentle word turns away wrath. We must remember!
My goal is to help find the forest through all the trees. Sometimes, we need someone along side us to lovingly say, “It really doesn’t matter.” For instance, I was asked not to play the piano for a church one time because I was wearing shorts. They were very modest and clean, but that did not seem to matter. That is one of an enormous variety of examples where it really doesn’t matter. The big picture is that if souls can be saved, do it. If God can be lifted up and glorified, do it. What people are wearing, unless it is immodest or provocative in any way, doesn’t matter. What someone drives doesn’t matter in the big picture. What color or lack of it their hair or nails are really doesn’t matter. So, in the big picture, what matters? Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so. Jesus matters, especially where His love for us is concerned to provide a way to be saved and restored to our great Creator God and live with Him in perfect form forever. This life, in all of it’s little details and meanderings only matters insomuch as it leads us along that big picture path. The big picture path, silly from worldly perspective and down right narrow minded from many many perspectives, is really all that matters. We need to be saved and restored, we can be saved and restored and Jesus is the way to do it. That is it, folks. It doesn’t matter the details in the denominations or the details of the paint colors of the church. If you aren’t looking at the big picture with all of us fellow Jesus Christ followers, there can be no unity or revival we so desperately need. If we share and spread the simple big picture path, we will see the right changes happen to restore us to God, and in doing so restore our country to its former glory. Where the Christ followers go, so goes the nation.